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NOTES 

ON THE LATIN TRANSLATION OF, AND 
COMMENTARY ON THE 

DIVINA COMMEDIA BY GIOVANNI 
DA SERRAVALLE. 

BY 

G. L. HAMILTON. 



NOTES ON THE 

LATIN TRANSLATION OF, AND COMMENTARY ON 
THE DIVINA COMMEDIA BY GIOVANNI DA 
SERRAVALLE. 



The first and, so far as has yet been noticed, the only prose transla- 
tion of the Divina Commedia into Latin, was made by Giovanni dei 
Bertoldi (i), generally known by the name of Serravalle, from the 
town, in the small republic of San Marino, in which he was born. The 
date of his birth is unknown — it was probably about 1350 — and the 
only details that we have of his earlier life are to the effect that he 
entered the Minorite Order as a young man, and was an attendant at 
the readings on Dante by Benvenuto da Imola, either at Bologna or at 
Ferrara (2). He was honored with the highest offices of his order; 
between the years 1393 and 1397 he was a very popular preacher at the 
Church of Sta. Croce — later the Laurenziana — in Florence, a position 
which he returned to fill in subsequent years (3). He had then trav- 
elled in the East and to England (4), probably under some papal 
commission, and in 1400 we find mention of him as a successful 
preacher, lecturer, and ambassador at Perugia (5). Made Bishop of 
Fermo before 14 10, he was present as a member of the Italian Natio 

1. In the index to the Catalogue of Additions to the MSS. of British 
Museum, 1882-1887, s. v. Dante, p. 554, s. v. Bertaldi, p. 439; the Woodhul 
MS. is indexed under the incomprehensible head of Berthaldi. 

2. Benvenuti de Imola, Comentum. Florentiae, 1887, vol. I. pp. xxxiii- 
xxxv ; Fratris de Serravalle translatio et comentum totius libri Dantis 
Aldigherii . . . nunc primum edita. (By Marcellino da Civezza e Teofilo 
Domenichelli.) Prati. 1891, p. xvi. 

3. F. Novati in Bulletino della societk Dantesca. No. 7 (1891), pp. 
n ff. 

4. Translatio, p. 258. 

5. F. Novati in Giornale storico della letteratura italiana, vol. XXIX. 
p. 565. 



1 8 GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 

at the Council of Constance, 141 4-1 41 8, where, at first a faithful ally 
of Gregory XII., he finally took up the cause of the newly elected Pope, 
Martin V. Later on he was translated to the see of Fano, and died in 
1445 at a ver y advanced age (6). 

During the intervals of the long-delayed sessions of the Council of 
Constance, the subject of Dante was brought up in conversation in the 
group of prelates with which Serravalle associated, and at the pressing 
request of two members of the English deputation, Nicolas Bubwith (7), 

6. Translatio, pp. xi-xxiii. For additions and corrections cf. H. Grauert 
in Historisch-Politische Blatter fur das Katholische Deutschland, vol. 
CXX. pp. 176-1S5; F. X. Kraus, Dante (1S99), pp. 12,497; M. Delfico, 
Memorie della Reppublica di San Marino (Firenze, 1S44), vol. III. app. 
p. xxiv; Muratori, Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. XV. col. 950 b; 
Hefele, Conciliengeschichte, vol. VII. p. 258. The notices of Serravalle in 
Ughelli, Italia Sacra, vol. II. cols. 786-787; vol. I. cols. 529, 726; vol. IV. 
col. 1 01 4, are partly confusions, partly errors. I have not been able to 
verify references to Ughelli and to Labbe's Concilia made by Le Clerc, His- 
toire litteraire de la France, vol. XXI. p. no. 

7. As there is no article on Bubwith in the National Biography, I here 
state the few sources I have consulted. Le Neve, Fasti Angl. Eccl., ed. 
Hardy, vol. I. pp. 140,394,616,622; vol. II. pp. 221, 294, 601. 637 ; vol. III. 
pp. 139, 183. W. Hunt, Bath and Wells (Diocesan Histories), pp. 87^ 132, 
139, 142. W. H. Jones, Salisbury (Dioc. Hist), pp. 136-137. Fasti Sarib. 
Eccl., 1879, Index, s. v. H. H. Milman, Annals of St. Paul's Cathedral, 
1S69, p. 88. W. Dugdale, Hist, of St. Paul's Cathedral, pp. 219, 402. 
Monasticon, cd. 1S19, vol. II. p. 279. T. Rymer, Fcedera, 1727, vol. VIII 
pp. 152,686; vol. IX. pp. 167, 168, 170, 370, 410, 437, 466, 567. Ulrich 
von Richtental, Chronik des Constanzer Concils, ed. Buch, 1882, p. 169. 
A. Wood, Hist, et Antiq. Oxon., 1672, vol. I. pp. 201-205. W. Phelps, 
Hist, of Somersetshire, 1839, vol. II. pp. 113, 145, 156. J. Britton, Cathe- 
dral Antiquities, vol. IV. pp. 42, 1 io. A. J. Jewers, Wells Cathedral, 1892, 
pp. 1, 9, 275, 296. Wells Cathedral, ed. H. E. Reynolds, 1SS1, pp. xxxi, 
xxxvii, lvii, lxx, Ixxxi. Proc. of the Somerset Arch. & Nat. Hist. Soc, 
vol. I. 2, pp. 81, 176; XII. 2, pp. 34, 55; XIX. 2, pp. 42, 74; XXXIV. 2, 
pp. 47, 80, 87; XXXVIII. 2, p. 19 Proc. of the Privy Council, ed. H. 
Nicolas, vol. I. pp. 331, 332, 334, 335, 337, 34<>, 34*t 343. 348, 349, 350, 358, 
395 ; vol. II. pp. 7, 31, 32, 36, 38, 103, 1 14, 236, 286, 300; vol. III. p. 124. 
Rotuli Parliamentorum, vol. III. 486a, 522b, 545b, 582a, 583a, 585b, 
586 b, 590 a, 609 a, 632 b, 623 a, 648 a, 649 a; vol. IV. 4 a, 1 6 a, 50 b, 116 b, 
117b, 123b, 129b, 150b; vol. V. 425a. Translatio, pp. xx-xxi. 



GIOVANNI DA SARRAVALLE. IO , 

Bishop of Bath and Wells, and Robert Hallam, Bishop of Salisbury, and 
of his own countryman, Amadeo, Bishop of Saluzzo, he made in Latin 
prose a line-for-line translation of the Divina Commedia, accompany- 
ing it with a commentary and introductory discourses upon the poet 
and his work. Further, in order to please one of his petitioners who 
was too impatient to wait for the completion of the translation, he wrote 
a summary — " Summa seu Epilogus, Summarium " are the words he 
uses — of every canto (8). The most remarkable thing about this 
composition is the short time in which it was written ; for the trans- 
lation was made between January and May, 141 6, and the commen- 
tary, commenced on the first of February, 14 16, had been carried as 
far as the end of the Purgatorio on October 22 of the same year, and 
was completed by January 1 or 16 of the following year (9). The 
translation has no pretensions to elegance : it is at best a closely 
literal "crib" (10). The commentary, for the most part (11) an 

8. Translatio, pp. xvii-xix. None of the "ristretti" of the Divina Corn- 
media noted by Batines, Bibliografia Dantesca, vol. I. pp. 2130°., by G. 
Biagi, Giunte, etc., inedite, pp. 80 ff., and by L. Prati, Miscellanea Dantesca, 
pp. 8-1 1 n., seem to be exactly similar to Serravalle's " Epilogi." 

9. Translatio, p. 3, "sexta decima die mensis Januarii," p. 121 5, "sexta 
die mensis januarii. " The first and longer date is probably the correct one. 
Cf. Translatio, pp. xxi, 814. Tiraboschi, Storia della letteratura italiana 
(1789), vol. V. p. 509, gives dates of work on both translation and commen- 
tary as Feb. 1, 1416-Feb. 16, 14 17. The MS. Egeriano, through a mere 
scribal error, gives for dates of the translation Jan. -May, 141 7. Cf. I. Vaisz 
in Giornale storico della letteratura italiana, vol. II. p. 364. 

10. He himself says: "Ipse liber per me transferreretur de ydiomate 
vulgari ytalico in illam talem prosam rudem et ineptam ; " and again, 
" scilicet quod hoc opusculum facere accellerarem non curantes de rusticana 
latinitate, in corrupta translatione, quam si fieri necesse fuit propter temporis 
brevitatem." (Translatio, p. 5.) 

11. Cf. Transl. p. 570: " Benvenuto de Ymola, qui fuit magister meus in 
hoc libro quern et cujus opinionem secutus sum quasi semper." Where 
he keeps closely to his original, it can be seen that the MS. of Benvenuto 
which he used certainly belonged to the same family as that of the Lauren- 
ziana, which is used as the basis of the text of Vernon's edition. On the 
other hand, the text used by Barbieri (Dell* origine della poesia rimata, 
1790, pp. 49, 73-74, 97, 139, 146, 148, i49-!5o, I5 ! > ! 5 6 )» if he quoted it as 
written, does not seem to be, as might be expected, the MS. Etenseano used 



20 GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 

abbreviated version of that of Benvenuto da Imola, has no additional 
historical or critical apparatus to give the author a place among the 
valuable older commentators (12). In fact, that he is not one of 
the great majority to whom apply the words of Dante, 

" Fama di loro il mondo esser non lassa " (13), 

is due not to any general merit of this work of his, but to a specific 
fault. The good intentions of the author were of little avail, while 
misstatements in the work have given substance to a distressing literary 
heresy — Dante's visit to England. When treating of the life of 
Dante, in the general preamble, or preliminary discourse to the whole 
work, among other gross mistakes evidently due to ignorance, Serra- 
valle intentionally makes the most absurd statements to satisfy the 
college pride (14) of his English colleagues, both of whom were 
greatly interested in (15), and one of whom, Hallam (16), had been 
Chancellor of the University of Oxford. After telling how the poet 
had met Beatrice, he continues, " Modo nota quod Dantes dilexit hanc 
puellam Beatricem hystorice et litteraliter ; sed allegorice et anagogice 
dilexit Theologiam sacram in qua diu studiit tarn in Oxoniis in Regno 

as a variant in the Vernon edition, and of which parts were published by 
Muratori (Antiquitates italicee medii sevi, 1738, vol. I. pp. 1028 ff. Cf. 
Barbieri, 1. c, p. 187, Tiraboschi's note). On cases of statements disagree- 
ing with those of Benvenuto, cf . below, Note 20 ; U. Foscolo, Discorso sul 
testo, etc., London, 1825, vol. I. pp. 123-124. 

12. Cf. Grauert, 1. c, pp. 178-179; Kraus, Dante, p. 518. The mere 
lack of time and the composition of the " Epilogi " are enough to discredit 
the assumption that the commentary and translation were the outcome of 
public readings upon the Commedia; cf. K. Witte, Litbl. f. germ, und rom. 
Phil., 1881, col. 445; E. Sulger-Gebing, Zeit. f. vergleich. Lit., N. F., 
vol. VIII. p. 223; Grauert, 1. c, pp. 178-179. 

13. Inf., III. 49. 

14. Grauert, 1. c, p. 183, n. 1. 

1 5. As the earliest Registers of Oxford, that are preserved, only go back 
to 1449, an d as the names of neither Hallam nor Bubwith appear on the 
separate college lists of an earlier date, there is no documentary evidence of 
their graduation from the University; but on Bubwith's interest see H. C. 
M. Lyte, Hist, of Oxford, 1886, p. 316, note 3. 

16. Nat. Diet, of Biog., vol. XXIV. p. 99, R. L. Poole. 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 2 t 

Anglie; quam Parisius (17) in regno Francie" (18). Further on, 
after stating that the poet had studied at Bologna and Padua, he goes 
on to say, " demurn Oxoniis et Parisius ubi fecit multos actos mirabiles " 
(19). There is no other evidence whatsoever (20) to substantiate 

17. " Parisiis" is given in the printed text quoted; but in the Woodhul 
MS. the regular mediaeval form (which appears elsewhere in MS. Cappo- 
niano, Transl., pp. 163, 549, 655, 941), " Parisius " is given. Academy, 
vol. XXIX. p. 133. On the source of the error, cf. A. Bonnet, Le latin de 
Gregoire de Tours, 1890, pp. 337-338; D'Arbois de Jubainville, La decli- 
naison latine en Gaule a Tepoque merovingienne, 1872, pp. 62-66, 70-72; 
Krusch in Opera Gregorii Turonensis, 1894, vol. I. p. 941. 

18. Transl., p. 15; cf. Acad., vol. XXIX. p. 133; Giornale storico della 
letteratura italiana, vol. II. p. 361 ; E. Moore, Early Biographers of Dante, 
pp. 111-112; Cat. of Add. MSS. of the Brit. Mus., 1882-1887, PP- 357~35 s - 

19. Transl., p. 21 ; cf. Acad., vol. XXIX. p. 133; Early Biog., p. 112 ; 
Revista Europea, 1874, vol. III. p. 409. 

20. Boccaccio's line in his metrical letter to Petrarch in praise of Dante, 

" Pariseos dudum, serusque Britannos." 

(On the correct reading "serusque," instead of " extremos " as in some texts, 
cf. G. Carducci, Opere, vol. VII. pp. 288, 292-293; but on the use of 
"serus" in the sense of "extremos " in Valer. Flac, Arg., 705, as adduced 
by Carducci, compare Boccaccio's use of it apparently in the sense of 
" tardus " in the Lettere, ed. Corazzini, pp. 243, 363). Foscolo (Discorse 
sul testo, etc., vol. I. pp. 124-125) was, I believe, the first to point out this 
line in connection with Serravalle's statement, and it was used also by 
Missirini, Vita di Dante, 1840, vol. I. pp. 123-124, and by Balbo, Vita di 
Dante, 1853, p. 473 ; cf. also Nation, vol. LVI. p. 31 1. (For a bibliography 
of the variant texts cf. A. Hortis, Stuc^j sull opere latine del Boccaccio, 
Trieste, 1879, p. 791.) Contrary as it is to the specific statements of its 
author in his Comento and Vita, it may be better to take it as a classical 
reminiscence of Horace's " ultimos Orbis Britannos," Od., I. 35 and 29-30, or 
of Catullus in Carm., XI. 11 -12 (on Boccaccio's acquaintance with Catullus 
cf. Hortis, 1. c, p. 944; P. de Nolhac, Petrarche et THumanisme, 1893, 
pp. 131, 137 ff.), than on account of it to seek to impugn the authenticity of 
the poem; cf. Moore, Early Biog., p. 179. On the British Isles as Ultima 
Thule may be compared a passage in Boccaccio's Comento (ed. Milanesi, 
vol. I. p. 192; Moore, Early Biog., p. 179), where, speaking of the westward 
trend of the sway of empire, he ends with "gia che il cielo ne minacci di 
portarle in Inghilterra," cf. the quotation from Benvenuto in this note. It 



22 GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 

this biographical detail. Yet elsewhere in Serravalle's work does the 
cloven foot of sly flattery show itself with another uncalled for allusion 
to Oxford. In the preamble introductory to the Purgatorio y after stat- 
ing why Dante and his guide had not needed to come to the Mount 
of Purgatory in a boat, he proceeds : " Et sicut Anglia, existens insula 

would only work more confusion to suggest that " Britannos " is used in the 
same sense as in a letter of a correspondent of Abelard, where "remota 
Britannia" is used when Brittany is evidently referred to (P. Abselardi 
Opera, ed. V. Cousin, 1854, vol. I. p. 59). We should then have merely 
another comment on Villani's expression, " e piu a Parigi e in piu parti del 
mondo " (Chron., IX. 136), and a transference of the difficulty to Dante's 
travels in Western Continental Europe, that is, an unnecessary confusion of 
the insular and the continental " Britannia" question. 

Yet by certain enthusiastic Englishmen this poetical statement of Boccac- 
cio is used as an argument a posteriori, to support Serravalle's false state- 
ment: cf. E. H. Plumptre, Contemporary Review, vol. XL. pp. 843 ff. ; 
Translation of the Divina Commedia, etc., vol. I. pp. xlii, 63, 118, and 
vol. II. pp. 113, 424, 427; Lyte, History of Oxford (reviewed in Acad., 
vol. XXX. p. 419, by E. Moore and in the Litbl. f. germ. u. rom. Phil., 
col. 125, by F. X. Kraus), pp. 89-91 ; W. E. Gladstone, Nineteenth Cen- 
tury, vol. XXXI. pp. io32ff. ; Recollections of Sir Algernon West, 1899, 
vol. II. p. 236; W. Flower, in Athenaeum, 1898, pp. 693-694; Scartazzini, 
Allgemeine Zeitung, Beilage Num. 81, April, 1893; Dantologia, 1894, 
p. 151; F. X. Kraus, Litbl. f. germ. u. rom. Phil., 1894, col. 157 ; Giomale 
Dantesco, vol. II. pp. 256-258, 452, and vol. III. pp. 263, 370; Notes and 
Queries, Ser. 8, vol. II. p. 101 and vol. IX. pp. 184-185. It is curious that 
the passages in the Commedia which according to these writers denote 
Dante's acquaintance with English history and topography are more fully 
commented on by Serravalle than by Benvenuto. On Inf., XII. 118, he has 
much more to say (Transl., pp. 162-163) than Benvenuto (Comentum, vol. 
I. 414), introducing flattering remarks on the " pulcherissimo et ditissimo " 
kingdom of England. Dealing with Inf., XXVIII. 135, although writing for 
Englishmen, he makes " Rex Joannes, vulgariter dicebatur rex Jovene," the 
son of Richard (Transl., p. 350), adding one more to the list of mistaken 
commentators; cf. E. Moore, Contributions to the Textual Criticism of 
the Divina Commedia, p. 349. According to Moore's statement here, the 
Woodhul MS. does not contain a text of the commentary as complete as 
that of the Capponiana. For illustrations of this passage not yet noticed 
by Dante scholars, cf. P. Meyer, Fragments d'une vie de St. Thomas de 
Canterburie, 1885, I. 32; Ambroise, L'Estoire de la Guerre Sainte, v. 95, 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 



23 



sicuti est, est sic circumdata mari, quod ad illam non est possibilis 
accessus sine adjutorio navis nisi quis volaret, ita ad hanc terram, sic 
elevatam sursum ad istum montem, nemo venire potest nisi per mare 
fultus adjutorio navis. Sed nota quod si de alio emisperio poli anthar- 
tico veniret versus nostrum emispirium per foramen terre perforate, sic 
et taliter quod foramen inciperet illuc in alio emispirio, et veniret per 
centrum terre, et postea terminaret illud foramen in Oxoniis sive alio 
loco medio insule Anglie, vel etiam in circumferentiis insule, dummodo 
esset infra insulam, ille veniens de alio emispirio per illud foramen, 
non indigeret navi ad intrandum insulam Anglie, quia jam esset in 
ea" (21). 

This translation of a vernacular composition into the universal tongue 
met with none of the success that was the fortune at an earlier period 
of Guido delle Colonne's rendering of the Roman de Troie of Benoit 
de Sainte-More, and, in the next century, of Locher's translation of 
Brandos Narre?ischiff. The earliest (22) notice of the existence of 

ed. G., Paris; A. Thomas, Francesco Barberino, etc., p. 183. When treat- 
ing of Purg., VII. 130 ff., Benvenuto, I. c, vol. III. p. 216, says, concerning 
" Seder la sola" (cf. Inf., IV. 129; XII. 118) : "quia Anglicus; Anglia enim 
angulus terrae et reposita in Oceano occidentali. Unde Virgilius ; Et 
penitus tota divisa Britannos." To this Serravalle, 1. c, p. 509, adds, " Ideo 
dat magnam laudem auctor domui rcgum Anglie, quia multi et multi suc- 
cesserunt boni et valentes." There is nothing noteworthy on Par., XIX. 
121- 122; cf. Benvenuto, 1. c, vol. V. p. 248; Serravalle, 1. c, p. 105. 

21. Transl., pp. 429-430. On flattery as the cause of the statements, 
cf. Grauert, 1. c, p. 183, note. 

22. There is a possibility that there is a reference to the work of Serra- 
valle in a note of the librarian of Benedict's collection of books at the castle 
of Peniscola in Catalonia, to which the deposed Pope had retired, tempo- 
rarily in 1408 and permanently in 14 17, and where he died in 1424. The 
library already contained the Divina Commedia and some of the Latin 
works of Dante, and in a memorandum of books to be bought we find noted, 
" Dantes reductus de lingua florentina ad latinam. Lectura magistri Ben- 
venuti super eodem in latino;" cf. L. Delisle, Le Cabinet des MSS. de la 
Bibliotheque Nationale, vol. I. pp. 486-488; M. Faucon, La librairie des 
Papes d' Avignon, 1887, vol. I. pp. 59-61, 85, note and vol. II. pp. 140, 151 ; 
Pastor, Hist, of the Popes, vol. I. pp. 190, 200, 201, 274; Creighton, Hist, 
of the Popes, vol. I. pp. 222, 364, and vol. II. p. 22. The translation of 



24 GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 

such a translation and its accompanying commentary was in the first — 
and only completed — book of the learned archivist of Modena, Gio- 
vanni Maria Barbieri (23) (15 19-1574), entitled Deir origine delta 
poesia rimafa. He is treating of the earliest Italian poetesses, and, 
after mentioning the Nina of Dante da Maiano, he goes on : " L'altra, 
quella Gaja figliuola del buon Gherardo da Cam i no, della quale fa 
mentione nel XVI canto del Purgatorio quando dice di esso Gherardo ; 

' Per altro soprannome io nol conosco 
S'io nol togliesse da sua figlia Gaja.' 

II qual loco comentando Fra Giovanni da Serravalle della Diocesi di 
Rimini e Vescovo di Fermo, che fu discepolo di Benvenuto, & traslatd 
e comento in latino la Commedia di Dante a petitione di certi Prelati 
della Magna dice di Gaja le seguenti parole, ' De ista Gaja filia dicti 
boni Guerardi possent dici multae laudes, quia fuit prudens domina, 
literata, magni consilii, & magnae prudential, maximae pulchritudinis, 
quae scivit bene loqui rythmatice in vulgari ' " (24). 

Serravalle would seem to be the very book to bear company with the com- 
mentary of his master, Benvenuto, on the shelves of the pontiff whom he 
helped to depose at the Council of Constance, but the work wanted may 
have been that earlier and better known rendering into hexameters of Matteo 
Ronto: cf. Colomb de Batines, Bibl. Dant., vol. I. pp. 237-242; K. Witte, 
in Divina comoedia hexametris latinis ab . . . Dalla Piazza, pp. xiii-xv ; 
L. Auveray, Les MSS. de Dante des bibliotheques de France, 1S92, pp. 127- 
128; Grauert, 1. c, pp. 174-175. 

23. On his life and works, cf. G. Tiraboschi, Bibliotheca Modenese, 
vol. I. pp. 158 FF; A. Mussafia, Sitzungsberichte der Wiener Ak M Phil.- 
Hist. Klasse, vol. LXXVI. pp. 201 ff.; G. Groeber in Romanische Studien* 
vol. II. pp. 606 ff. ; P. de Nolhac, La bibliotheque de Fulvio Orsino.pp. 314, 
note 4; 322, note 1. 

24. Deir origine della rimata poesia. Opera di Giammaria Barbieri 
Modense, publicata da G. Tiraboschi, Modena, 1790, p. 169 ; cf. Transl., 
p. 613. This quotation was noted by Quirico Viviani in his edition of the 
Divina Commedia, 1 823-1 828, vol. II. p. 126. U. Foscolo, who did not 
have Barbieri's work at hand, attributed the statement " Prelati della 
Magna " to Viviano, and corrected it by Tiraboschi's account, Discorso, etc., 
1825, vol. I. pp. 121-124. Witte (note to Goettliche Comcedie, Purg., XVI. 
140) rejects both the testimony of Serravalle and the directly contrary infor- 
mation given by Benvenuto (1. a, vol. III. p. 451). Todeschini (Scritti su 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 25 

But as this work of Barbieri was not published until 1 790, the ear- 
liest accessible notice of Serravalle's composition dates from 1736. 
In that year, Giustini Fontanini, in his Dell* eloquenza italiana (25), 
published posthumously at Rome by his nephew, when laying out a 
plan for an improved edition of the Divina Commedia, notes, among 
unpublished documents which might be used to advantage, first, the 
commentary ascribed to Pietro di Dante (26), and then states that 
" un altro Dante tradotto ad literam in latino e comentato pure in 
latino da Giovanni da Seravalle, Frate Minore della diocesi di Rimino, 
e Vescovo e Principe di Fermo, si trova a penna presso Signor Mar- 
chese Capponi, fatica da quel Prelato composita nel 14 16 mentre si 
ritrovava al concilio di Costanza, e cio a richiesta di Amadeo da Saluzzo, 
Cardinal Diacone di santa Maria nova, di Niccolo Bubvit, Vescovo 
Batoniense et Vellense, e di Roberto Alam, Vescovo Saresberiense, 
Amendue Inglesi " (27). 

In the Catalogo della libreria Capponi, ossia dei libri italiani del 
Marchese A. G. Capponi, con annotazioni in diver si luoghi, Roma, 
1747, partly compiled by the proprietor of the collection, and com- 
pleted after his death by D. Giorgi (28), is the shorter notice, "sera- 
valle Johannes, ordinis Minorum & Episcopus Firmanus, Commentarius 
in Dantem Aldigherium de Aldigheriis; concinatum Constantiae, dum 

Dante, vol. II. pp. 400-401) accepts Benvenuto's evidence. Blanc (Versuch 
einer bloss philologischen Erklarung, etc., 1861-1S65, Heft II. pp. 63-64) 
and Fransoni (Studi vari sulla D. C, Firenze, 1887, pp. 212-240), 
support Serravalle's assertion, but the latest comments on the passage in 
question seem to justify Benvenuto's statements; cf. Giornale Dantesco, 
vol. I. p. 413, and P. Rajna in Arch. Stor. Ital., Ser. V., vol. IX. pp. 
284 ff. 

25. On various editions of this work cf. Biographie Universelle, ed. 
Michaud, vol. XIV. p. 353b, 355 a. 

26. Barbieri, who perhaps had consulted codices in the Laurenziana (cf. 
Bandini, Catalogus Codicum Latinorum, vol. V. pp. 201 f., 392 ff.; Tira- 
boschi, Dell' origine, etc., p. 177), speaks of Giacopo di Dante as author 
of both Comento and Capitolo (Dell* origine, etc., p. 163). He was also 
the first to quote the commentary of Buti (1. c , p. 83). 

27. Dell' eloquenza italiana, Venezia, 1 737, p. 422. 

28. Biog. univ., ed. Michaud, vol. VI. p. 630b; XVI, p. 499a. 



26 GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 

Constantiense concilium celebraretur. (Inscribitur Amideo diacono 
Cardinali S. Mariae Novae nuncupate)" (29). 

Capponi's library, after the death of its proprietor, became by will 
a part of the Vatican collection; and it was here that the MS. of 
Serravalle was carefully read by the antiquarian G. Giuseppe Garampi, 
as is evidenced by passages in his Me mo fie ecclesiastiche del/a beata 
Chiara di Rimini, published at Rome in 1755. In speaking of the 
use of a title of nobility he notes that " il nostro Giovanni da Seravalle 
ne* suoi Comenti MS. sopra Dante nota, che ' ille qui regit Marchiam 
conjunctim solet habere ilium titulum : Marchio Marchie Anconitanae, 
Capitaneus Urbini, & Rector Massae Trabariae ' ; Cod. 1 MS. Bibl. Vatic. 
Cappon" (30). In the index he refers to the passage cited above, 
and then continues : " II suo Comento sopra Dante fu compilato in 
Costanza nel di I Gennajo dell' anno 14 17. Editum a Rev. in C/ir. 
Patre 6° D.D. Fr. Johanne de Seravalle Ariminen. dioc. Dei 6° Apos- 
tolice Sedis gratia Episcopo 6° Principe Eirmano, Sucre Theologie Pro- 
fessore de Online Minora m assumpto. Ivi alia pag. 18 (31) asserisce 
di essere stato Lettore e Maestro Reggente nel suo Covento in Firenze 
nell' anno 1395, dove dimoro per 4 anni (pag. 56) (32). Nel 1398, 
andd a visitare il S. Sepolcro di Cristo in Gerusalemme (ivi al 34. 
Can. del Parad.) (33). Prima pero, cioe nelP anno, 1390, era egli 
stato creato da Bonifacio IX lettore del libro nelle Scuole del Palazzo 
Apostolico (PI. 50, Cod. 18, p. 20 in Arch. Vat.); onde converra 
aggiugnere il suo nome al eatalogo de' lettori delP Archigimnasio 
Romano, che da quelle credesi derivare. Altre notizie del medesimo 
si potranno avere dalP Ughelli, e dagl' Istorici dell' Ordine" (34). 

Girolamo Tiraboschi, the great historian of Italian literature, as the 
curator of the Libreria Estense in Modena, and the biographer of the 

29. Catalogo, etc., p. 452; cf. G. Pelli, Memorie, etc., 1759, P- I2 °> note; 
Cancellieri, Osservazione, etc., 18 14, p 56. 

30. Memorie ecclesiastiche, etc., p. 38, note g. Batines, Bibl. Dant., vol. 
HI* P- 335» wrongly gives p. 138. Cf. Transl. p 332, where, however, 
"communiter " appears instead of "conjunctim." 

31. Cf. Transl., p. 58. 
32.1b., 176. 

33. lb., p. 419, note 39. But the reference is Inf., XXXIV. 

34. Memorie, etc., p. 553. Batines, 1. c, p. 335, again gives wrongly 
p. 533- Cf. Transl., pp. xvi, xxvi. 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 



27 



literary men of that city, knowing of the existence of the above- quoted 
work of Barbieri by contemporary notices, had sought for it without 
success up to the publication of the first volume of his Biblioteca Mo- 
t/enese in 1 781 (35), and the completion of the first edition of his Storia 
delta Ictteratura italiana (36). Shortly after this, however, he found 
the autograph MS. of the work in the possession of the lineal descend- 
ants of Barbieri, and prepared it for publication with an introduction 
and notes of his own (37). In a note of the fourth volume of the 
second edition of the Storia, where he treats of early Italian poetry, he 
quotes, without mentioning his source, the comment of Serravalle on 
Gaja (38). Moreover, informed of the existence of a MS. of the com- 
mentary by the notice in the Catalogo delta libreria Caponi, he had 
made (39) a copy of the introductory Preamble — he calls it a "lunga 
prefazione " — and in the fifth volume, in the section on Dante, he 
added notes in which, more or less correctly, he stated the facts 
relative to the composition of the commentary and translation, and 

35. Bibl. Modenese, vol. I. pp. 163 ff. ; cf. vol. VI. p. 24. 

36. Cf. vol. IV. p. 363; vol. V. pp. 415,431, with reference to 2d ed. 
cited in notes below. 

37. Although published in 1790, the notes of Tiraboschi seem to have 
been written prior to the publication of the Storia, as in the note on the 
Gaja passage cited in Barbieri, 1. c, pp. 169, note, and p. 187, note, he does 
not correct the phrase "prelati della Magna." He seems acquainted only 
with the notice in the Catalogo, which is cited by him on another matter 
(1. c, p. 170, note), even though his words " appena v'ha, chi abbia notizia" 
would indicate an acquaintance with the mention of Serravalle's work in 
other quarters. It seems impossible that he did not know the correct state- 
ment as given in the book of Fontanini, of which he made constant use. 
Although in the Storia, vol. IV. p. 425 (1788), he quotes the Gaja passage 
as his own discovery, yet he seems not to have verified Barbieri's quotation 
by a reference to the MS. Capponiano. In the Storia (vol. IV. p. 396) he 
mentions its future publication, and cites passages from it. Cf. Barbieri, 
1. c, pp. 82-83. 

38. Storia, 2d ed., vol. IV. p. 425 (1789). 

39. This copy is at present in the Libreria Estense of Modena. Colomb 
de Batines, Bibl. Dant., vol. II. p. 335; I. Vaisz in Giorn. stor. della lett 
Ital., vol. II. p. 363. 



28 GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 

cited the first of the two passages in the Preamble which speak of 
Dante's studies at Oxford (40). 

Up to a very recent date, in the many works on Dante, all the 
notices — save the noted exception of Serravalle and his statements 
appertaining to the English journey — were based upon these remarks 
of Tiraboschi (41). V. Monti, in the second number of his Biblioteca 
Italiana (Feb., 181 6), proposed his erratic and unfounded reading of 
In/., III. 42 : "Che niuna gloria i rei avrebber d'elli." He was vio- 
lently attacked for his somewhat more than bold suggestion, and then, 
following, as a forlorn hope, a perfectly groundless hint of Perticari's, 
he looked to find support for his view in Serravalle's translation. De- 
ceived therein, yet he expressed his regret that De Romanis in his 
edition of the Divina Commedia had not taken it into account (42). 
Colomb de Batines in the first volume of the Bibliografia Dantesca 
notes, and in the second volume gives, a fairly accurate description of 
the MS. (43)- Barlow in the "fifties" also noted it, but only, it 
seems, in reference to the "English" statement which he thought was 
based upon information obtained by the author from the English 

40. Storia, 2d ed., vol. V. pp. 490, 509. Vita di Dante in La Divina 
Commedia, Milan, 1804, vol. I. pp. xxx, lxii, and all subsequent editions of 
Storia and Vita. 

41. M. Missirini, Vita di Dante, vol. I. p. 143 (1840); U. Foscolo, Dis- 
corso, etc. (1825), vol. I. p. 123 ; E. Balbo, Vita di Dante, 1853, P- 473 J 
F. X. Wegele, Dantes Leben, 3d ed., p. 95, note ; Scartazzini, Prolegomeni, 
p. 94; Id., Dante Handbuch, p. 123 ; H. F. Cary, in the Life of Dante in 
his Transl. of D. C, 2d ed., 181 9, vol. I. p. 5 ; F. Cancellieri, Osservazione, 
pp. 45-46; A. Bartoli, Storia della lett. itaL, vol. V. p. 21 ; Taaffe, A Com- 
ment on the Divina Commedia, 1822, vol. I. p. 48. Cf. Witte, Dante-For- 
schungen, vol. I. p. 433, where the author of the commentary is referred to 
as " il dotto Inglese," a term not quite so appropriate as the sharp criticism 
of the book by Colomb de Batines, Bibl. Dant., vol. I. p. 677, " Vi sono par- 
ticolari poco noti o meglio ignoti sopra Dante ed alcuni de* suoi contempo- 
ranei con cui fu legato in amicizia. ,, (For a few details concerning the 
life of this eccentric personage, cf. E. Dowden, Life of Shelley, vol. II. 
p. 362.) 

42. Giornale Dantesco, vol. II. pp. 151, 152. 

43. Colomb de Batines, Bibl. Dant., vol. I. p. 257; vol. II. pp. 333, 
335 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 29 

prelates, who merely reported an Oxford tradition (44). Finally 
the MS. has been published under the patronage of Pope Leo XIIL, 
carefully edited by two Minorite brothers (45). 

In 181 9, an anonymous writer in the Tudomanyos Gyujtemeny 
(Scientific Miscellanies), an Hungarian literary journal, and, again, in 
i860, Francesco di Czazar, the translator of the Vita Nuova in the 
U. Magyar Museum (New Hungarian Museum), called attention to 
the existence of a copy of the work of Serravalle, in the Library of the 
Archiepiscopal Academy at Erlau (Eger) in Hungary (46). The first 
notice of general accessibility was a summary of the second article in a 
communication of Geza Kuuns in the Revista Europea for 1874 (47). 
In 1883, there appeared in the- Giornale storico del/a letteratura itali- 
ana an article describing the MS., written by Ignazio Vaisz (48), who 
supposed that his own paper was the earliest contribution to the sub- 
ject (49). All these notices are meagre and unsatisfactory. 

44. Critical, Historical, and Philosophical Contributions to the Study 
of the Divina Commedia, 1846, pp. 18, 19; Ferruzzi, Manuale Dantesco, 
vol. IV. p. 34, notes an article by Barlow in the Partenone di Londres, 
1852, No. 13, on " Dante at Oxford." I have not been able to rind such an 
article in the Athenaeum for that year, or in the other volumes of the same 
periodical, to which Barlow regularly contributed from 1857 on. Ferrazzi 
also notes (either on his own account, or merely in summarizing Barlow's 
article) Boccaccio's " serusque Britannos." 

45. For title see note 2. As the expense of publishing was borne by 
the Pope, it is sometimes called " il Dante del Papa." Rev. in Lit. Rund- 
schau f. d. katholische Deutschland, XVIII. Jahrg.,pp. 149-153; Arcadia, 
vol. III. p. 659; La Cultura, 1891. Anno 6, 732-735; Bulletino della 
Societa Dantesca, Nos. 10-11, p. 6; Giornale Dantesco, vol. II. p. 152 and 
vol. III. p. 564. From a lack of substantial facts, I have not discussed 
the possible identity of the MS. Capponiano with that used by Barbieri. 
The only variant in the Gaja passage cited in the text is that in the Lati- 
nizing of the name Gherardo ; Barbieri gives the form " Guerardi," as 
against the " Gherardi " found in the Transl. and in Benvenuto. 

46. C. J. Ferrazzi, Manuale Dantesca, vol. V. p. 292; Giornale storico 
della lett. ital., vol. IV. p. 58, note; Transl., p. xxv. Grauert, 1. c, p. 183, 
note. 

47- Revista Europea, 1874, vol. III. pp. 406-407. 

48. Gior. stor., etc., vol. II. pp. 36off. 

49. lb., vol. II. p. 360; vol. IV. p. ^8, note. 



3<> 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 



The MS., in its present condition, is inferior to the MS. Cappo- 
niano (50), and contains only the preamble (51), the translation, and 
the commentary on the Inferno. A copy, made probably in 141 7 (52), 
it begins with a dedication addressed, not to the prelates at whose 
request the work was undertaken, but to the Emperor Sigismund, and 
the mere dedicatory greeting is grafted in and made one with the 
dedicatory letter, which in the MS. Capponiano is quite separate. 
This same dedication is found at the beginning of the commentary, 
but the original statement of the wherefore of the work is found in the 
colophon of both the translation and commentary of the more com- 
plete MS. (53). This copy seems to have been made by one of the 
prelates who accompanied the Emperor to Constance (54), or given 
as an honorary presentation copy, by the men who were interested in 
the work, to Sigismund on account of his having been the protector of 
the Council, and more particularly on account of his close relations 
with the English people (55), especially with Bishop Hallam, one of 

50. Cf. Transl., pp. xxiv-xxv. 

51. The MS. Capponiano contains only the preamble, introductory to the 
whole poem, and to the Purgatorio. It is possible that in one of the other 
two existing MSS. — which, it is true, are inferior — there is a preamble 
introductory to the Paradise 

52. 141 7 is a reasonable date to assign to the MS., as it was probably 
copied from the completed autograph ; and, if it was a gift on the part of 
the English prelates, presented before the death of Hallam (4th Sept., 141 7; 
Ulrich von Richtenthal, Chronik, p. 113; Grauert, 1. c, p. 183, note 2) 
and the break between the English Nation and Sigismund (M. Creighton, 
Hist, of Papacy, vol. I. p. 392). Vaisz accepts a scribal error which wrongly 
gives as dates of the translation, Jan. 6-May, 141 7 (Giorn. Stor., vol. II. 
p. 364 ; cf . note 9). 

53. Transl., pp. 1214-1215. If Witte had been acquainted with this MS. 
there would have been more reason for his criticism of Scartazzini, who, in 
his Dante in Germania, had not thought it necessary to mention a Latin 
translation made at the request of two Englishmen, members of a largely 
alien assembly in a German town. Cf. Litbl. f. germ. u. rom. Phil., 1881, 
col. 445, and E. Sulger-Gebing, 1. c, p. 223; Grauert, 1. c., pp. 176, 180 ff. 

54. As suggested by Vaisz, who goes so far as to specify a Hungarian 
prelate; cf. Giorn. stor., vol. II. pp. 364-365. 

55. Lappenberg u. Pauli, Geschichte von England, vol. V. pp. 1 25 ff . ; 
Creighton, 1, c., vol. I. pp. 367ft"., 447-449. 



GIOVANiXI DA SERRAVALLE. ^ 

the petitioners (56). Certainly, a translation of Dante would not 
have had purely humanistic attractions for the monarch whose ignorance 
has been made familiar to English readers by the passage in the His- 
tory of Frederick the Great, where Carlyle relates how, when criticised 
for a confusion of genders in a speech, the King quashed all future 
remarks in that direction by his proud answer, " Ego sum Rex Ro- 
manus et supra Grammaticam " (57). The preservation of the Eger 
MS. is attributed to the collecting work of Carlo Esterhazy, in the 
last century (58). 

The earliest date of a copy making its appearance in England, so 
far as has yet been pointed out by Dante scholars, was 1S86, when the 

56. Creighton, 1. c, vol. I. pp. 368, 391-392; R. S. Poole, in Nat. Diet, 
of Biog., vol. XXIV. p. 100. 

57. T. Carlyle, Hist, of Fred, the Great, Bk. II. ch. xiv. vol. I. p. 192 
(ed. 1 871). The original source of this story may be Matteo Castiglione, 
Elogi Historici, 1606, p. 234. Modern German historians give a more 
favorable view of Sigismund than does the Italian humorist; cf. T. Lindner, 
Deutsche Geschichte unter den Hapsburgern und Luxemburgern, vol. II. : 
" Es kam dem Konige nicht darauf an, welcher Sprache er sich zu bedienen 
hatte, da er das Deutsche, Lateinische, Bohmische, Polnische, Ungarische, 
Franzosische und Italienische vollkommen beherrschte ; er wurde deswegen 
mit dem sprachkundigen Mithridates verglichen. Er zog auch in seinen 
letzen Lebensjahren italienische Gelehrte an seinen Hof." See also J. 
Aschbach, Gesch. Kaiser Sigismund, vol. IV. pp. 401 ff. ; and Grauert, I.e., 
p. 184, Note 1. The classic authority upon the history of the revival of 
learning expresses an opinion hardly favorable on the whole to Sigismund's 
humanistic interests ; cf. G. Voigt. Die Wiederlebung des classischen 
Alterthums, vol. II. pp. 272-276. By a most curious coincidence, Sigis- 
mund comes in touch with the "Vision " of Dante. The Purgatory of St. 
Patrick, by Henry of Saltry, is certainly a somewhat close analogue to the 
Inferno, if not one of its actual sources. Various rifacimetiti of the work 
were made at different times, and the last of these was the account, written 
by James Yonge, of Dublin, upon the visit to the Purgatory made by one 
Laurentius Ratold, a Hungarian knight, who came to England in 1408, with 
letters of commendation from Sigismund; cf. H. L. D. Ward, Cat. of MSS., 
etc., vol. II. p. 489. But on the historical worthlessness of the most precise 
dates given in accounts of visions, cf. B. Haureau, Notices et Extraits, 
vol. II. pp. 328 ff.; and G. Paris, Romania, vol. IX. pp. 534-536. 

58. Giorn. stor., vol. II. p. 365; Revista Europea, 1874, vol. III. p. 407. 



32 GIOVANNI DA SERKAVALLE. 

" Woodhul " MS. was acquired by the British Museum. Bought by 
Woodhul in 1809, it contains the bookmark of the Marquis of Done- 
gal. Its earlier history is unknown, and no detailed description of it 
has been published (59). Dr. Edward Moore, who was the first to 
call attention to it, being unacquainted with the notices of the Hun- 
garian MS., and supposing that, with the exception of the MS. in the 
Capponiana, it was unique, conjectured that it came from Italy, and 
that it had been acquired by a namesake of the Marquis of Donegal, 
who had held an ecclesiastical position in Italy (60). But there is a 
possibility that its provenance may be English. 

In the deed of 135 books that were given by Humphrey, Duke of 
Gloucester, in 1443, to the University of Oxford, are noted " Item Com- 
mentaria Dantes; secundo folio, tormentabunt " (61), and "Item 

59. Very sparing are the notices of it in Cat. of the Add. to the MSS. 
of Brit. Mus., 1SS2-1887, PP- 3 5 7-368 ; E. Moore, Contr., etc, pp. i-ii. 

60. Acad., vol. XXIX. pp. 132, 133. Misled by a note in Batines (Bibl. 
Dant., vol. II. p. 333, note, cf. Aggiunte, p. 93; Giorn. stor., vol. II. 
p. 365) to the effect that an inhabitant of San Marino whose evidence could 
be depended on had told him that the autograph copy which had been kept 
in the Archives of San Marino, had been loaned to and lost by Melchiore 
Delfico, Moore suggested that the Woodhul MS. was the same. Neither 
the statement of Batines nor the suggestion of Moore rests on any possible 
facts. Delfico, writing in 1802, and his editors only know of the MS. Cap- 
poniano (cf. M. Delfico, Memorie della Reppublica di San Marino, 1844, 
vol. I. p. 235, where Delfico, with commendable patriotic sentiment, speaks 
of it as the MS. of "un pregiato commento," see vol. III. App. p. xxv). 
The MS. lost by Delfico was that of the commentary of Giovanni Tonsi, the 
successor of Serravalle in the Bishopric of Fano {not Fermo, as in Brizzi, 
Quadro storico della Reppublica di San Marino, Firenze, 1842,^89); 
cf. Transl., p. xvi. ; Batines, Bibl. Dant., vol. II. pp. 339-340; Delfico, 1. c, 
vol. I. p. 235; vol. III. p. xxvii; Ughelli, Italia Sacra, vol. I. col. 716; 
P. de Nolhac, La Bibliotheque de Fulvio Orsini, pp. 226-227, Note). The 
autograph MS. of his work, preserved in the Cenobio de' Conventuali, was 
loaned to Delfico, and could not be found in his library after his death ; cf. 
Delfico, I.e., vol. III. App. pp. xxvi-xxviii. Brizzi, 1. c, p. 89, gives a 
different account of its fate. Witte seems to accept the note of Batines as 
trustworthy; cf. Herzog u. Plitt, Realencyclopaedie f. prot. Theol. u. 
Kirche, 2d ed., vol. III. p. 491. 

61. H. Anstey, Monumenta Academica, p. 771. On the source of the 
document, cf. ibid., p. xvii. 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 



33 



Li brum Dantes; secundo-ate " (62). That the first MS. here men- 
tioned was a Latin commentary — as is to be inferred from the word 
" tormentabunt " which marks the folio division — and the commentary, 
too, of Serravalle, cannot be reasonably doubted when we find that 
among the books in the Oxford Public Library catalogued by John 
Leland (63), in his visitation of 1530-1546 (64), is noted " Com- 
mentarii Joarinis de Seravala episcopi Firmani, ordinis Minorum, 
Latine scripti, super opera Dantis Aligerii ad Nicolam Bubwice, 
Bathon et Wellensem, episcopum, & Robertum Halam episcopum, 
Sarisbur : Commentarii editi sunt tempore Constantiense consilii " 
(65). The commentary alone is catalogued, but the MS. probably 
contained the translation, as is the case with the entries in the cata- 
logues of the Libreria Capponiana (66) and the British Museum 
(67), where merely the title-pages of the several MSS. are copied. 
Or, the second MS. mentioned in the deed and not noted by 
Leland may have been the translation bound separately (68), if 
it were not a copy of the Italian text. There is proof positive that 
Humphrey was interested in the vernacular literature of Italy, as 
at present his copy of the Decamerone is in the Bibliotheque Natio- 

62. H. Anstey, Monumenta Academica, p. 772. 

63. On Leland's knowledge of Italian and his interest in Dante, cf. 
Leland and Bale, Newe Yeare's Gift, ed. Copinger, pp. 23, 27 ; Huddesford, 
Lives of Leland, etc., vol. II. pp. 48, note, 77 ; J. Leland, Itinerary, ed. 
Hearne, 1745, vol. II. p. xiii; Wood's Athenae Oxon., ed. P. Bliss, vol. I. 
col. 125; Leland, Collectanea, ed. Hearne, vol. V. p. 141. 

64. On the date of Leland's visitation, cf. T. Tyrwhitt, Chaucer's Can- 
terbury Tales, A pp. to the Preface, note e. 

65. Leland, Collectanea, vol. IV. p. 58; cf. Macray, Annals of the Bod- 
leian, 2d ed., pp. 399-400, for a reprint of Leland's list of books in the 
Public Library at Oxford. 

66. Cf. p. 25 supra* 

67. Cat. of Add. to MSS., 1 882-1887, p. 357. 

68. As perhaps in the case of the MS. at Wells, referred to below. On 
a possible source of Humphrey's MS., as a gift from Whethamstede, Abbot 
of St. Albans, cf. Dugdale, Monasticon, 1817, vol. 1 1, p. 20; T. Warton, 
Hist, of Eng. Poetry, 1840, vol. II. pp. 265-266; F. Madden, Hist. Minor 
of Mathew of Paris, vol. I. p. xxxix; F. Gasquet, The Old English Bible 
and other Essays, pp. 142, 257. 



34 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 



nale (69). A fewMSS. are to-day to be found in the Bodleian Library, 
which once formed a part of Humphrey's gift to Oxford (70), but 
after Leland, there are no further details concerning the fate of these 
" Commentarii." Perhaps at the visitation of the University under 
Edward VI., it shared the same hard fortune as those works which 
smelt rank of Mariolatry and superstition and were burnt in a pile 
before the Library (71), or else became the prey of one of the Puritan 
commissioners. There is a possibility that the Woodhul MS. may be 

69. L. Delisle, Le cabinet des MSS. de la Bibliotheque Nationale, vol. 

I. p. 52, note 5. 

70. Wood's information about the library presented by Humphrey is 
hardly reliable (Historia et Antiquitates, ed. 1672, vol. If. pp. 49-50). 
Leland seems to have known only the list of Humphrey's first gift of 129 
books, not that of 135 in which the codices of Dante were included (Com- 
mentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, p. 443). The number 143, given in 
Leland & Bale, Newe Yeare's Gift, p. 94, must be a mistake. Only 129 
books are mentioned in a University Statute of 1478 pertaining to the care 
of Humphrey's gift (T. Hearne, Collection of Curious Discourses, 1720, 
p. 300), as also in an old document copied by G. Langbaine (lb., p. 303). 
Delisle, 1. c, vol. III. p. 334, through a mere slip in referring to Anstey, 1. c, 
p. 758, makes the same statement. On the history of the library and its 
remains, cf. Macray, Annals of the Bodleian, 2d ed., pp. 6ff., 78, note 3 ; 
Anstey, 1. c, p. 758 ff. ; Leland, Coll., vol. IV. pp. 59-60; Warton, La, vol. 

II. pp. 264-265 ; B. Casley, Cat. of the MSS. of the King's Library, 1784, 
pp. 87, 88, 291 ; H. Ellis, Letters of Eminent Literary Men, pp. 356-358; 
H. Ellis, Three Books of Polydore Virgil's English History, 1844, pp. 
xxv ff. ; H. Rashdall, Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, vol. II. 
pp. 744-745; F - Madden, Hist. Min. of Math, of Paris, vol. I. p. xxxix; 
Delisle, 1. a, vol. I. p. 52, notes 7 and 8, and vol. II. p. 338 ; Cat. of Libri 
MSS., 1859, P- 2I 5> No- 957- 

71. A. Wood, Hist, et Antiq., vol. I. pp. 271-272; vol. II. p. 50; A. 
Wood, Athenae Oxon., ed. Bliss, vol. I. cols. 466-468; Macray, Annals of 
the Bodleian, 2d ed., pp. 13, 36; J. Collier, Ecclesiastical History of Great 
Britain, vol. V. p. 428 (ed. 1845). Cf. T. Fuller, Church History of 
Britain, 1837, vol. II. pp. 317-318; and see Aubrey's Brief Lives, ed. A. 
Clark, vol. II. p. 297: "My old cosen, parson Whitney, told me that in 
Edward VPs time they burned mathematical bookes for conjuring bookes, 
and, if the Greeke professor had not accidently come along, the Greeke 
testament had been thrown into the fire for a conjuring booke too;" ibid., 
vol. I. pp. 250-251 ; "when Oxford was surrendered — the first thing gen- 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 35 

identified with it, by the noted folio division, and Humphrey's arms or 
book-mark motto, " Moun bien moundain " (72). 

Hallam, one of the English bishops at whose request the work of 
Serravalle was made, died at Constance before the end of the Council. 
Bubwith, on the other hand, returned to his diocese, and, after a busy 
useful life of service, died in 1424. To-day he is remembered as one 
of the founders of the noble cathedral of Wells, and we are told that 
among his other additions he built the library and "libris pretiosis 
ditavit " (73). One of these volumes may well have been that trans- 
lation and commentary for which he was largely responsible, and Leland 
notes among the books in that library, " Dantes translatus in carmen 
Latinum " (74). In calling it a verse translation, Leland only com- 
mitted the error made by two of the most prominent Dante scholars 
of this century, Batines (75) and Moore (76). On the other hand 

erall Fairfax did was to sett a good guard of soldiers to preserve the Bod- 
leian Library. 'T is said there was more hurt donne by the cavaliers (during 
their garrison) by way of embezilling and cutting-off chaines of bookes, than 
there was since. He was a lover of learning, and had he not taken this 
special care, that noble library had been utterly destroyed — quod N. B. ; 
for there were ignorant senators enough who would have been contented to 
have it so. This I doe assure you from an ocular witnesse, E. W. esq." 

72. Leland, Collectanea, vol. IV. p. 58. This book-motto has already 
been noticed in Lappenberg und Pauli, Geschichte von England, vol. V. 
p. 669, note 1 ; Pauli, Bilder aus Alt-England, i860, p. 350. 

yy J. Leland, Itinerary, ed. Hearne, vol. III. p. 106; Proc. of the Som- 
ersetshire Arch, and Nat. Hist. Soc., vol. XXXIII. 2, p. 107 and vol. XL. 
2, p. 40. On the library anterior to Bubwith's work, ibid., vol. XXXIV. 2, 
pp. 109 ff. ; T. \V. Williams, Somerset Mediaeval Libraries, and Miscella- 
neous Notices of Books in Somerset prior to the Dissolution of the 
Monasteries, Bristol, 1897, pp. 26 ff., 40. Bubwith's gift has already been 
noted in Reports of the Historical Commissioners of Great Britain, vol. 
X. App. 3, p. 387. 

74. J. Leland, Collectanea, vol. IV. p. 155. 

75. Bibl. Dant., vol. II. p. 335, Note, where he changes his correct state- 
ment of vol. I. p. 257 ; cf. Aggiunte, p. 93. 

76. Contributions, etc., pp. i-ii, where the statement in Bibl. Dant., vol. 
1. p. 257, is again wrongly corrected. Williams, 1. c., p. 11 6, Note, presumes 
it to be " probably the translation of Ronto." He thinks that mention of 



36 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVAILE. 



he may not have seen the MS. at all, but may have taken the title from 
a catalogue made prior to the dispersion of the monastic libraries 
by the act of Henry VIII., and to his own visitation (77). Both 
the translation and commentary may have been together in this Wells 
MS., but with a title-page differing from that of the MSS. already 
mentioned, while the arrangement of the text was the same, and 
the translation, coming first, was alone noted (78). If it has not 
met with one of the possible mishaps of the Oxford MS., it may 
still remain unnoticed among the MSS. of the Cathedral Library, 

the work of Dante is " rare if not unique in the annals of English monas- 
teries. ,, It is not clear whether a writer in the Quarterly Review (vol. 
CLXXI. p. 448), who seems to he generally accurate, refers to the same 
instance, when he writes, "In Monastic libraries, as far as we are aware, 
only one copy of Dante can be traced. It was a prohibited work amongst 
Churchmen." The second of these statements must be read in the light of 
Carducci's essay, " Delia Varia Fortuna di Dante," Opere, vol. VIII. pp. 
178 212; cf. Reusch, Die Index der verboten Buecher, vol. I. pp. 488-4S9. 
The copy noted in the library of Westminster Abbey at the end of the seven- 
teenth century (E. Bernard, Catalogi Librorum Manuscriptorum Angliae 
et Hiberniae, etc.) may have formed part of the old library which under- 
went Puritan expurgation in Edward VI.'s time (J. Collier, Ecclesiastical 
Hist, of Great Britain, vol. V. p. 417, ed. 1845), or it mav merely go back 
to the foundation of Dean John Williams in 1625. 

77. E. Edwards, Memoirs of Libraries, vol. I. p. 363, Williams, 1. c., 
p. 120, speaks of the list of books " recorded to have been or were probably 
in the library." Leland himself sent books from various monastic libraries 
as gifts to the King (C. J. Leland, Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britanni- 
cis, 1709, ed. A. Hall, pp. 160, 299), so we are not surprised to find the 
less scholarly visitors guilty of the same action. (Gasquet, Henry VIII. 
and the English Monasteries, 1889, pp. 144, 417.) On the general destruc- 
tion of monastic libraries, under the act of Henry VIII., cf. T. Fuller, 
Church History, vol. II. pp. 245-248. J. Bale, in Newe Yeare's Gift, pp. 
1 3 if. : Boyle's complaint in Cambridge Antiquarian Soc. Proc, vol. III. 
p. 157. On robberies from the Wells Cathedral cf. W. Dugdale, Monasti- 
con, vol. II. p. 284; Hist. Com. Ibid., p. 264. On the fate of the two MSS. 
abstracted from the Cathedral Library of Canterbury at the time of the 
Dissolution, cf. W. De G. Birch, The Utrecht Psalter, pp. 103-106. 

78. The translation comes first in both the Capponiana and Hungarian 
MSS. 



GIOVANNI DA SERRAVALLE. 



37 



as documents of a contemporary and much earlier date have been 
found there (79). 

After these two notices of MSS. of Serravalle's work by Leland, no 
one even suspected the existence of a copy in England, until Henry 
Cary, by far the most learned of all English Dantophilists, when speak- 
ing in his Life of Dante of the English journey, and basing his remark 
upon passages of a Latin prose, line-for-line translation of the poem 
cited as the work of F. S. in the Origines Sacrce of Bishop Stillingfleet 
(80), wrote : " I would suggest the probability of others " — he has been 
speaking of the MS. Capponiano, — "existing in this country" (81). 
A comparison of the quotations in the translation of F. S. with the 
published text of Serravalle's reveals an entirely distinct version, so 
that a different source must be sought for Stillingfleet's quotation. 

79. Reports of the Hist. Com. of Great Britain, vol. X. App. pp. 92, 
93» 94> 36°- Among these that are of particular interest in this investi- 
gation, is a copy of the Canons of Constance, promulgated under Martin V., 
as affecting the English nation, and inserted in the book of the Chancery of 
the Apostolic See, granted at Florence on the 17th of April, 14 19, lb., p. 360. 

80. Origines Sacrae, Book II., ch. IX., sect, xix, 4; Book II., ch. X. 
sect, v, 2. Works of Stillingfleet, 1710, vol. II. pp. 193-194,219. 

81. Life of Dante in Divina Commedia, 2d ed., 181 9, pp. 5-6, note. 

G. L. HAMILTON.